“Since my earliest memory, I imagined I would be a chef one day. When other kids were watching Saturday morning cartoons or music videos on YouTube, I was watching Iron Chef,The Great British Baking Show, and old Anthony Bourdain shows and taking notes. Like, actual notes in the Notes app on my phone. I have long lists of ideas for recipes that I can modify or make my own. This self-appointed class is the only one I’ve ever studied well for.
I started playing around with the staples of the house: rice, beans, plantains, and chicken. But ‘Buela let me expand to the different things I saw on TV. Soufflés, shepherd’s pie, gizzards. When other kids were saving up their lunch money to buy the latest Jordans, I was saving up mine so I could buy the best ingredients. Fish we’d never heard of that I had to get from a special market down by Penn’s Landing. Sausages that I watched Italian abuelitas in South Philly make by hand. I even saved up a whole month’s worth of allowance when I was in seventh grade so I could make ‘Buela a special birthday dinner of filet mignon.”
― Elizabeth Acevedo, With the Fire on High